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  • Writer's pictureGil Aranowitz

Unlocking the Warrior Within You

I’m not what you would typically call black belt material.


I was never a great athlete. In fact, I spent more than my fair share of childhood aloof, stashed away out in rightfield, glove perched over my visor for extra shade – because I sure didn’t plan on using it to catch any balls.


My arts and crafts skills weren’t much to brag about, either. I didn’t quite have the hand-eye coordination necessary to produce refrigerator-worthy material.


So, what the heck was I thinking when I showed up at the entrance of Orginal Okinawan Karate in Rochester, Michigan, at the allegedly mature age of 37, ready to strap on my white belt and gi and get to work...

Never did I once think that this would be easy.


I struggled to remember my kata.


My thighs burned and knees screamed as I struggled with the correct stances.


And after a few inadvertently fractured fingers and toes, I had serious doubts about what the heck I was doing.


More than a few times, I questioned whether I belonged at the dojo.


I imagined the instructors looking at me each time I walked out the door, wagering how many months would be before I quit.


But some force, some energy, was pushing me to keep showing up.


As I got to know some of my dojo mates, I realized that my struggles weren’t unique to me.


Tammy was a 60-something retiree raising her grandson alone. She joined to motivate him to attend the kids’ classes.


Mark was a recovering heroin addict. He craved routine and discipline as a means of keeping him on his path.


Lauren had a grandmother from Okinawa. She joined in an effort to connect with her heritage.

(Note: I changed the names to protect myself from a butt-whooping)


None of us would fit my then definition of “black belt material.”


One day, Andrew, an attorney by day and one of the senior students, made an off-handed remark as we practiced in a small group. “You never know who has it in them.” He talked about the determination to stick through the training and work up to the higher ranks. “It’s not always who you think it would be.”


Andrew went on to say that it is less about athletic skills, strength, or talent and more about determination and dedication. “Just keep showing up,” he added.


Marketing is no different from martial arts.


Are you sweating the details to get your messaging right?

Showing up regularly on social and emails to connect with your audience?

Continually refining your website so it presents your products and services as the best version of what you have to offer?


It’s about putting in the reps.

Not being afraid to make mistakes.

Improving by way of doing.


Just keep showing up🥋

I believe you have it in you.

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